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University of Utah Health Changes Controversial Billing Policy: Report

By Jack O'Brien  
   July 03, 2019

The Beehive State health provider told a local news outlet it was revising its billing practices.

An executive at the University of Utah Health said the organization is changing its policy that billed surviving spouses for outstanding patient debt, according to KUTV.  

The Salt Lake City-based academic medical center responded to a story Tuesday, where a patient, Get Gephardt, was subject to a nearly $400 dermatologist bill for her deceased husband.

Initially, University of Utah Health told Gephardt that state law considered the bill to be a family expense, which must be covered by the surviving spouse.

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However, after Gephardt contacted the University of Utah's primary competitors, MountainStar and Intermountain Healthcare, who told her they would not subject a surviving spouse to a deceased patient's outstanding bills, according to KUTV.

Once Gephardt contacted the University of the Utah again, Kathy Delis, the administrative director of revenue cycle support service for the hospital, said it was changing its billing policy.

"We are changing our policy to no longer bill patients' surviving spouses for debt that's owing. Instead, we will bill the estate or the probate," Delis told KUTV

Related: Utah's Medicaid Expansion Opens Door to Spending Caps Sought by GOP

Jack O'Brien is the finance editor at HealthLeaders, a Simplify Compliance brand.

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